NGO urges people to respect monks

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Heng Monychenda speaks with Khmer Times COO Kay Kimsong yesterday. KT/Tep Sony

Buddhism for Development has urged the public not to look down on all monks just because of the actions of a few bad apples.

During a Khmer TimesCross-Talk interview, its director Heng Monychenda also reminded Buddhists that it is their responsibility, and not the monkhood’s alone, to uphold the religion’s values.

“If we think that Buddhism is our religion, we must help to maintain it by reporting any wrongdoings committed by monks to the monk authority which can educate or defrock them,” he said.

Mr Monychenda also said that if people come across any actions which are inconsistent with Buddhist teachings, they should inform the monk authority or the Cult and Religion Ministry to take action.

He noted that that there are 16 million people, of whom only 50,000 are monks, in Cambodia.

Mr Monychenda said that Buddhism helps to develop society and encourages people to keep doing good deeds in their lives. He said the religion also teaches people about how to budget their earnings to be able to provide for their families.

“Buddhism encourages people not to spend all their money and to keep some for a rainy day,” Mr Monychenda said.

Buddhism arrived in Cambodia during the third century of the Buddhist era when the country was ruled by non-Buddhist kings.

Mr Monychenda said that Buddhism became widely-accepted by the people during the reign of King Jayavaraman VII, from 1181 to 1218, during which time the Kingdom greatly prospered.

He noted that the religion went through a trying period in the Kingdom when King Jayavaraman IX, who ruled from 1327 to 1336, renounced it and ordered the destruction of Buddha statues.

Mr Monychenda said that throughout the ages Buddhism has played a key role in developing Cambodian society with monks helping to disseminate the religion’s teachings to the people.

“Monks have joined these activities to help society by teaching people to do good deeds and to preserve the Khmer culture,” Venerable Khim Sorn, chief of the secretariat of the Mohanikaya Monk Order in Cambodia, said.

Ven Sorn noted that all religions, including Buddhism, teach followers to do good deeds and earn the people’s respect.

“In Cambodia, Buddhism is the state religion, so almost all Cambodian people respect the religion,” he said.

Ven Sorn said that monks who commit acts which are unethical or illegal with the state’s law, will be disciplined or defrocked based on their activities.

Seng Somony, spokesman of Cult and Religion Ministry, said that Buddhism plays a key role in Cambodian society and noted that monks who commit wrongdoings face disciplinary action, including defrocking.

“Some monks make mistakes because they do not understand about Buddhism’s ethics,” he said.

WATCH: Khmer Times Cross-talk LIVE with guest Mr Heng Monychenda, Director of Buddhism for Development, discussing the topic "Buddhism for Social Development" with Mr Kay Kimsong, Khmer Times COO.Let us know your thoughts, leave your comments below.

Posted by Khmer Times on Tuesday, 12 March 2019

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